While there has been a steady need for food parcels since the lockdown, the Katikati Foodbank believes peak demand is yet to come.

It believes peak demand will come once the wage subsidy is exhausted and the true financial impact is felt within the community.

Katikati Christian Foodbank communications representative Pam Todd says concerns are being heard across the community, with many in Katikati facing the prospect of job losses and high anxiety around putting food on the table for their family.

"Many of those receiving food parcels have expressed their gratitude, saying they are relieved they no longer have the stress worrying how they would provide for their families.

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"Some parcel recipients have never found themselves in this position before."

She says it is a situation that will require community effort to ensure our neighbours, family and friends get through okay — something Katikati Foodbank has been grateful to receive in droves so far.

From the local supermarket offering their site as a drop-off point for goods and allowing the foodbank to purchase in bulk, to generous donations of food and cash, and many local food producers donating fresh produce - "it is a profound example of community connection, showing what matters most to people, is each other".

Funding has also recently been received through the Rapid Response Fund, a fund established by funders TECT, Acorn Foundation, BayTrust and Tauranga City Council to support those community groups facing increased demand due to Covid-19.

The $5000 in funding enabled them to buy much-needed food items, including long-life milk, spreads, eggs, meat, potatoes and all the basics necessary for a well-balanced food parcel - enough to prepare more than 30 food parcels.

The foodbank is a combined churches initiative and has been a pillar in the Katikati community for more than 20 years, ensuring no one goes hungry, no matter their circumstances.

The charity has always worked closely with other local community groups, but through the lockdown they have been working collaboratively in new ways.

They have been in close contact with other service providers including the local Rapid Response Team, Tauranga Budgeting, the Rūnanga, the Katikati Community Centre, and Red Cross has been delivering parcels to recipients who have been unable to collect them.

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The foodbank has also been able to distribute food-rescue from the supermarket throughout other community groups, including the three local marae, residents on Matakana Island, the RSA Village and to RSE workers who were unable to return home due to travel restrictions.

Pam says the foodbank has experienced a number of challenges since the lockdown.

"Many of our volunteers are retired folk, so when lockdown hit, most of them were required to stay at home.

"We have been fortunate that a few committed 'younger' volunteers took up the task to keep the foodbank running.

"As we entered lockdown, we definitely felt the pressure as provisions were at a low level.

"Most of the donated stock from our Christmas Can Collections had already used up due to the increase in demand for parcels since the beginning of the year.

"It was also initially difficult to access enough supplies through the supermarkets – they had their own challenges to overcome."

Despite these initial hurdles, the Katikati Foodbank's dedicated team of volunteers were able to continue to support the community, with the help of the community.

Pam says the foodbank is extremely grateful to all those who have supported them during this unprecedented season, including those who have donated fresh fruit and vegetables, groceries and finances.

To learn more about the Katikati Christian Foodbank or to donate today, go to www.foodbank.co.nz/katikatifoodbank.